The Stone Girl's Story

336p. HMH/Clarion. Apr. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781328729453.
Gr 4–6—This inventive middle grade novel balances humor and magic. Mayka is a stone girl carved by her stonemason human "father" who also etched her animal companions. His death years ago has left them alone with only their fading carved markings. The marks tell their stories and allow them to move and speak; but as the marks erode, the creatures stop moving. Mayka leaves her isolated mountain home to travel to the city of Skye to find a stonemason and bring him back to help. Mayka and her flying stone bird friends, Risa and Jacklo, are confused by the hostility humans show them. The humans consider themselves the creatures' keepers. In Skye, stonemason Master Siorn, who found an injured Jacklo after he'd flown away and disappeared, delightedly agrees to help the stone creatures. He has carved many strange creations—all of which bear the same strange mark that Mayka can't interpret. She's horrified to realize the mark means they have to obey Master Siorn and aren't allowed to be free. Mayka and her companions must come up with a plan to save themselves before the marks disappear and to stop Master Siorn from continuing to carve the obedience mark on other stone creatures. Mayka is a strong, believable heroine that readers will root for.
VERDICT This exciting adventure has moments reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, in which the protagonist must rely on herself and her friends to find inner courage and her way to safety. A solid purchase where magical fantasy circulates well.

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